Friday, January 18, 2013

College previews: Stanford, Cal, Sac State, UC Davis, etc.

Nicole Gibbs lost to eventual champion Serena Williams in the
second round of the Bank of the West Classic on Gibbs' home
court at Stanford last July. Gibbs returns to the Farm for her
junior year after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   For a while, it appeared the Stanford women would have one of the greatest college teams of all time this season.
   Now, the Cardinal will have to settle for being a strong contender for its record 17th NCAA team title.
   After winning two pro tournaments in singles, including the $100,000 Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, and reaching the third round of the U.S. Open before losing to Maria Sharapova last summer, Mallory Burdette decided to forgo her senior season on the Farm.
   All Burdette did at Stanford was win the last two NCAA doubles titles and advance to last year's NCAA singles final, losing to teammate Nicole Gibbs.
   Shed no tears for Stanford, though. The Cardinal has three players with world rankings -- No. 225 Gibbs (who also won last year's NCAA doubles crown with Burdette), No. 308 Krista Hardebeck and No. 561 Kristie Ahn -- plus Stacey Tan, the 2011 NCAA singles runner-up, and Ellen Tsay, ranked No. 55 in college.
   Following are capsules of Northern California college teams:
STANFORD WOMEN
   Preseason national ranking -- No. 5. 
   Spring season opener -- Today at Freeman Invitational in Las Vegas and National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Indian Wells.
   Coach -- Lele Forood (13th year, 308-19, .942).
   Last season -- 21-2 (9-1 Pacific-12 Conference), lost in quarterfinals of NCAA Tournament.
   Key player lost -- Mallory Burdette, two-time reigning NCAA doubles champion, 2012 NCAA singles runner-up.
   Key returning players -- Junior Nicole Gibbs (Santa Monica), defending NCAA singles and doubles champion; senior Stacey Tan (Lakewood), 2012 All-Pac-12 second team, 2011 NCAA singles runner-up; junior Kristie Ahn (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), semifinalist in $25,000 Redding Challenger last September, 2010-11 All-American in singles; sophomore Ellen Tsay (Pleasanton), ranked No. 55 in preseason singles.
   Key addition -- Freshman Krista Hardebeck (Santa Ana), ranked No. 2 in preseason singles.
   Outlook -- The Cardinal is loaded, even without Burdette.
 STANFORD MEN
   Preseason national ranking -- No. 10.
   Spring season opener -- Defeated Sacramento State 7-0 on Tuesday.
   Coach -- John Whitlinger (ninth year, 134-67, .667).
   Last season -- 20-9 (5-2 Pac-12), lost in quarterfinals of NCAA Tournament.
   Key players lost -- Bradley Klahn, NCAA singles champion in 2010, quarterfinalist in 2011 and semifinalist in 2012; NCAA doubles runner-up in 2011, semifinalist in 2010 and quarterfinalist in 2012; Ryan Thacher,  NCAA doubles runner-up in 2011, semifinalist in 2010 and quarterfinalist in 2012.
   Key returning players -- Sophomore John Morrissey (Ireland), ranked No. 39 in preseason singles; senior Matt Kandath (Gansevoort, N.Y.); junior Daniel Ho (Rosemead); sophomore Robert Stineman (Winnetka, Ill.); junior Jamin Ball (Palo Alto), ranked No. 57 in preseason doubles with freshman Trey Strobel. 
   Key additions -- Freshmen Nolan Paige (Fairfield, Conn.), Maciek Romanowicz (Poland), Strobel (Bradenton, Fla.) and Anthony Tsodikov (San Francisco). 
   Outlook -- The Cardinal faces a rebuilding year. 
CAL WOMEN
   Preseason national ranking -- No. 7.
   Spring season opener -- Went 25-0 in singles and 10-2 in doubles in the Weinman Foundation Invitational in Honolulu from Saturday through Monday.
   Coach -- Amanda Augustus (sixth year, 96-31, .756).
   Last season -- 20-7 (8-2 Pac-12), lost in quarterfinals of NCAA Tournament.
   Key player lost -- Jana Juricova, NCAA singles champion in 2011, runner-up in 2010 and quarterfinalist in 2012; NCAA doubles champion in 2009.
   Key returning players -- Zsofi Susanyi (Hungary), ranked No. 7 in preseason singles; Anett Schutting (Estonia), ranked No. 9 in singles and No. 32 in doubles; Annie Goransson (Sweden), ranked No. 110 in singles and No. 32 in doubles; senior Tayler Davis (San Jose); sophomore Cecilia Estlander (Finland); junior Alice Duranteau (France), ranked No. 59 in doubles with sophomore Laura Posylkin (Novato).
   Key additions -- Freshmen Lynn Chi (Weston, Fla.), ranked No. 109 in preseason singles, and Klara Fabikova (Czech Republic), who lost 7-6 in third set to second-seeded Veronica Cepede Royg in the $25,000 Redding Challenger.
   Outlook -- Juricova was a big loss, but the Bears return the rest of their top seven players.
CAL MEN
   Preseason national ranking -- No. 14.
   Spring season opener -- Today at National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Indian Wells.
   Coach -- Peter Wright (20th season, 255-187, .577).
   Last season -- 14-12 (4-3 Pac-12), lost in round of 16 in NCAA Tournament.
   Key players lost -- Nick Andrews, 2012 All-American in doubles; Carlos Cueto, 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
   Key returning players -- Junior Ben McLachlan (New Zealand), ranked No. 7 in preseason doubles with older brother Riki McLachlan and No. 66 in singles; Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Denmark), ranked No. 42 in singles; redshirt sophomore Chase Melton (Santa Barbara), ranked No. 92 in singles; sophomore Gregory Bayane (France).
   Key additions -- Freshman Mads Engsted (Denmark), ranked No. 93 in preseason singles; freshmen Wyatt Houghton (Westlake Village), Stuart Miller (Napa) and Jordan Smith (Mercer Island, Wash.); sophomore Nikhil Jayashankar (Saratoga, transfer from Northwestern); junior Campbell Johnson (Rancho Santa Fe, transfer from Georgia).
   Outlook -- This is a typical Cal men's team: good but not great. 
SACRAMENTO STATE WOMEN
   Preseason national ranking -- No. 56.
   Spring season opener -- Feb. 1 at Arizona, 12:30 p.m.
   Coach --Dima Hyrnashka, seventh year (112-45, .713, overall; 47-0 in Big Sky Conference).
   Last season -- 17-10 (8-0 Big Sky), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament.
   Key players lost -- Tatsiana Kapshai, three-time Big Sky MVP; Clarisse Baca, three-time All-Big Sky first-team selection; Maria Meliuk, second-team All-Big Sky.
   Key returning players -- Senior Rebeca Delgado (Mexico), three-time All-Big Sky first-team selection; junior Sophie Lohscheidt (Germany); junior Katharina Knoebl (Austria).
   Key additions -- Freshmen Saskia Angerer (Austria), Olivia Boija (Sweden), Jennifer Nguyen (Australia) and Siobhan Ryan-Bovey (Ireland).
   Outlook -- The rebuilding Hornets seek their 12th consecutive Big Sky regular-season championship, conference tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance. They have won 92 straight conference matches.
SACRAMENTO STATE MEN
   Spring season opener -- Lost to Stanford 7-0 on Tuesday.
   Coach -- Slava Konikov, eighth year (108-71, .603, overall; 50-3, .943, in Big Sky Conference).
   Last season -- 11-13 (7-1 Big Sky), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament.
   Key player lost -- Javier Millan, second-team All-Big Sky.
   Key returning players -- Senior Aliaksandr Malko (Belarus), first-team All-Big Sky; sophomore Marek Marksoo (Estonia), first-team All-Big Sky; sophomores Sean Kollar (Loomis), Roy Brandys (Poland) and Tom Miller (Great Britain).
   Key addition -- Redshirt freshman Niranjan Ram (India).     
   Outlook --The experienced Hornets eye their fifth consecutive Big Sky tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance. 
UC DAVIS WOMEN
   Spring season opener -- Today vs. Northern Arizona in Tempe, Ariz., 1 p.m
   Coach -- Bill Maze, 18th year (193-160, .547, overall; 60-20, .750, in conference matches).
   Last season -- 12-12 (6-2 Big West Conference), lost in semifinals of Big West tournament.
   Key players lost -- Dahra Zamudio, second-team All-Big West; Kelly Chui.
   Key returning players -- Junior Megan Heneghan (Tustin), two-time All-Big West first-team selection; senior Lauren Curry (Walnut Creek); sophomore Layla Sanders (El Cerrito), second-team All-Big West in doubles; junior Nicole Koehly (Santa Ana); senior Ellie Edles (Costa Mesa). 
   Key additions -- Freshmen Claire Jaramishian (Fresno) and Tiffany Pham (Elk Grove).
   Outlook -- Led by Heneghan, the Aggies could contend for the Big West regular-season and tournament titles.
UC DAVIS MEN 
    Spring season opener -- Saturday at Santa Clara, 10 a.m.
   Coach --Eric Steidlmayer, first year.
   Last season -- 6-16 (1-4 Big West Conference), lost in quarterfinals of Big West tournament.
   Key players lost -- Chris Aria; Josh Albert, All-Big West honorable mention in doubles.
   Key returning players -- Senior Toki Sherbakov (Mountain View), All-Big West first team in singles, honorable mention in doubles; junior Kyle Miller (Pacific Grove), All-Big West honorable mention in doubles; senior Hugo Verdi-Fortin (Canada), All-Big West honorable mention in doubles; junior Alec Haley (Woodside); senior George Horowitz (Atherton).
   Key additions --Freshmen Brett Bacharach (Newcastle), Adam Levie (Solana Beach) and Mitch Thorp (Kent, Wash.).
   Outlook --Led by Sherbakov, the experienced Aggies should improve upon last season. 
ALSO
   Other national rankings and player notes:
   Women's team -- No. 42 Saint Mary's, No. 68 UC Irvine (with sophomore twins Kat and Ali Facey of Cameron Park), No. 72 Syracuse (with sophomore Breanna Bachini of Roseville).
   Women's singles -- No. 26 Katie Le (Santa Clara junior from Milpitas), No. 64 Jenny Jullien (Saint Mary's junior from France).
   Men's team -- No. 36 Santa Clara (with senior Matt Kecki of Sacramento).
   Men's singles -- No. 65 John Lamble (Santa Clara junior from Saratoga).
   Notes -- As a qualifier in her first pro tournament, Le stunned Cepede Royg, a Paraguayan then ranked No. 216 in the world, to reach the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Redding Challenger last September. Le, the reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year, then lost to Sachie Ishizu of Japan. ...
   Kecki, an Australian Open junior doubles semifinalist in 2006 and 2007, transferred to Santa Clara after helping USC win two NCAA team titles and sitting out last season. ...
   Bachini went 4-5 in singles, primarily at No. 3 and No. 4, and 1-5 in doubles, mainly at No. 1, during her injury-plagued freshman year. Syracuse is coached by Luke Jensen, who won the French Open men's doubles title with his brother, Murphy, 20 years ago. The Orange coach, who was known as "Dual Hand Luke" because he's ambidextrous, teaches his players to hit with each hand.

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